A THOUGHT ON WHITE FEMINISM
It’s the Girlboss era: the thirteenth Doctor is a woman, Diana Prince rules the world while Agnès Jaoui, Maren Ade, and Fan Bingbing make crucial statements about the Cannes festival jury, the industry and how women are portrayed — but Jessica Chastain is put up on a gold pedestal. Still, that is another story for another time.
Feminism is slowly raising: yes, I am aware of the fact that there is still so much to do, especially because raising awareness on certain issues seems to be a colossal mountain we are not supposed to hike.
But I, as a woman, as an Italian former teenager, grew up in the South, am so terribly ashamed of what women here have to endure without them knowing.
Most of us are white, yes, and privileged most of all, but I can assure you that raising a girl in a narrow-minded, conservative small city is quite like being enclosed in a room with no furniture whatsoever and no water to survive. Girls nowadays — those who do not define themselves as feminists and have not understood its importance — post, on their Instagram stories, weird, wrong pictures of what gender equality means to them. Because no one ever told them what this means. Because parents still teach boys how to become doctors and lawyers, and girls how to plan their perfect wedding. Because school and its lack of meritocracy are meant to suppress our creativity and ability to become someone. Yes, I am referring to something I’ve had the pleasure to see and disagree with. And yes, I have known this girl for quite a while.
It was a picture of a woman who freed her nipples. The caption stated how that couldn’t be feminism as the woman was, shortly, just “showing off her body”. I don’t get how a person that studied Greek literature, Latin literature and takes part of events that stand up against uxoricide can say such things. I’ll go with ignorance.
Let’s face it, ignorance is women’s most sorrowful enemy. George Orwell’s English Socialist Party in “1984" states that ignorance is strenght. What do we know about same wages, representation, slut shaming, body shaming, diversity, gender fluidity and so on? We quote Meryl Streep and Shakespeare in our Instagram captions but we want boys to drive for us and never cry and understand subtle, silent requests and some of us are so ashamed of bisexual girls. We don’t want our bodies to be sexualized but we can’t stop ourselves when it comes to comments such as “she is SO showing off”, “That dress makes her look like a whore”, “Check her legs out. She didn’t wax them”. A female politician? She doesn’t understand a thing. She must have had that job because she is a slut.
We don’t know what’s in it for us. We don’t know we have the power to collectively set aside our differences and envy to reach a higher goal.
The same goes for boys and parents and grandparents and teachers who seem not to understand that Maths is not a subject that only boys can understand. Women do not have to necessarily become wives and mothers. Women with short hair do not look like men. Women who do not care about makeup and hairstyling are not “lesbians”. Women who do care, instead, are not stupid sluts. We do not belong in the kitchen (unless we want to). We do not get dressed up for someone that is not ourselves. We are not upset because it’s that time of the month.
If we don’t stand up for ourselves, then who can?
If we keep on being submissive, ignorant, privileged white girls who run their mouth in order to blubber foolish things that don’t give us the possibility to reach equality in our everyday life, then we deserve to be addressed as white feminists who don’t care about women and feminism. Because it’s not about us, right? Just remember that empowered women empower women.
So you, my dear schoolmate that made fun of the pic I took of my lips slightly parted (what was I, for taking that pic? They’re just small, thin, lips), have to swipe off your mind the idea that feminism doesn’t regard you. It does. You don’t get to throw shit on women and then post futile, useless pics of Facebook on International women’s day. We need to be on the same side.